Bidding Guidelines

Northwestern uses the following procedures when working with general contractors and subcontractors.

General contractors

Northwestern identifies a short list of general contractors on a project-by-project basis. It solicits lump-sum competitive bids from these contractors on the Project Announcement for Bidding. (No unsolicited bids are accepted.)


Each general contractor develops a list of subcontractors to use on the project. The University does not receive individual subcontractor bids or recommend subcontractors to general contractors. Subcontractors should not contact the University directly.

The following project information is made available to subcontractors:

Guidelines and policies for contractors

  1. The contractor must provide diversity supplier opportunities: Northwestern University is committed to the goal of enhancing economic opportunities for minority-owned, women-owned, disadvantaged and local (Evanston) business enterprises (M/W/D/LBE). All major contracts and subcontracts must include this policy statement, and all major contractors and vendors must submit a plan for diverse supplier opportunity for M/W/D/LBEs. The NU Business Diversity webpage provides forms and program information, and the Business Diversity Manager can assist contractors, subcontractors and vendors in the process.
  2. The contractor will not hold Northwestern responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the job or contract. The Contractor agrees to defend Northwestern University, its agents, servants, and employees, and hold it and them harmless from any and all lawsuits, claims, demands, liabilities, losses and expenses, including court costs and attorneys' fees, for or on account of any injury to any person, or any death at any time resulting from such injury, or any damage to any property, which may arise or which may be alleged to have arisen out of or in connection with the work covered by this contract.
  3. The contractor will follow restrictions for public roadways surrounding the Evanston and Chicago campuses. The City of Evanston and the Illinois Department of Transportation place several different constraints on public roadways in and around Evanston. These constraints include height, weight, and road classification. Permits for exceptional circumstances can be obtained from the City of Evanston and guidance from the city’s Transportation Division can be obtained by calling 847-866-2922. Public roadways surround the Chicago campus; contractors should make themselves aware of City of Chicago requirements regarding these roads. Particular attention is drawn to the requirements affecting Northwestern Memorial Hospital, North Michigan Avenue shopping and the surrounding residential areas.
  4. The contractor must obtain liability insurance before work can begin. The contractor cannot commence work under contract until he/she has obtained and the Director of Risk Management has approved all required insurance. Nor shall the contractor allow any subcontractor to commence work until all similar insurance required of the subcontractor has been so obtained. The Contractor shall furnish two (2) copies of certificate, with Northwestern University named as an additional insured, showing the following minimum coverage with an insurance company acceptable to the Director of Risk Management. Further, the Certificate of Insurance shall state that coverage provided is primary to any other coverage that may be available to the University.

For details on insurance requirements, visit:

Questions and Comments

If you have any questions or comments regarding our policies and procedures for vendors and other parties having contractual agreements with the Capital Programs Division, please call us at (847) 491-3677, or send us correspondence at:

Capital Programs Division
2020 Ridge Ave.
Suite 250
Evanston, IL 60208